Monday, April 14, 2014

Life Sized Chutes and Ladders

This fabulous idea came from Amy at Show Me Librarian. I followed Amy's program to a tee, but I learned some thing will be helpful if I do this program again, or for a larger crowd. First, go read Amy’s post so that what I’m about to write makes any sense.
Like Amy, I had about a dozen participants, but the most I had playing at any one time was about seven. I followed Amy’s tip, and had the kids wear nametags with numbers to make turn-taking easier.

Books for checkout, and the numbered name tags I had players wear

 The big thing I would do differently is that I would make a set of ten LARGE numbered placards for them to wear around their necks. I would skip the names, since I referred to them by their numbers anyway, and I would limit the amount of players in one game to no more than 10. As kids come in, I would have them take a number, 1-10. If more than ten kids arrived to play, the extras would line up ‘on deck’ and would replace the winners as they made it to the end. As each player in the first game makes it to the end, they would hand off their placard to the next kid in line. The winners could be done, or if they wanted to play again they would go to the end of the line. I would keep letting new kids replace winners until it got to the point that the very first winner would start over. At that point, I wouldn’t let any numbers re-enter until we finished the game completely (allowing everyone to make it to the end). Then I would start a new game entirely! 

The thin masking tape connects the spaces to show game direction; the thick masking tape shows ladders, and yarn shows the chutes.

Instead of a physical spinner, I found cool customizable spinner online called Wheel Decide, and used our community room's laptop/projector to make the spinner huge on the wall. I clicked the button to spin each turn, and announced the results, but it was also projected on the wall behind me, so the kids could see it. They really got into the drama of watching the spinner and hoping it was going to land on the color they wanted. It was super awesome fun, and I will definitely use Wheel Decide in the future any time I need to use a spinner. Below I show how to customize it, and here is the finished product that I made.

Easy as 1,2,3!

1. Go to advanced options
2. Choose the color scheme that you want
3. Write in the labels for each space on the spinner. To make sure the colors match the words, use the same word order that is listed in #2
4. Don't forget to name your wheel!

Supplies List:

  • Leftover SRP books for prizes (I spread them on a table)
  • Candy treats to hand out after the first game, for kids to enjoy while I modified the board
  • Masking tape to make the ladders (Need to somehow differentiate from the tape used to show game board direction—I used thick tape)
  • Masking tape to connect the spaces/show which direction the board moves in
  • Book tape or masking tape to secure the spaces to the floor
  • Yarn for chutes
  • Library books about games for kids to checkout
  • Placards numbered 1-10 for kids to wear around their necks
  • Construction paper—12-13 sheets each of red, yellow, green, blue (I collated them ahead of time which was a lifesaver when I was getting set up for the game!)
  • Spinner/Laptop, projector, wi-fi to use online spinner
  • Optional: cd player for background music.


  1. I'm doing this for a summer reading program so I am glad to see more details. AND for that awesome online spinner.

  2. They're all so pretty! Great activities for kids. These days, most would just keep them occupied...and quiet playing games on their ipads

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